Self-Pub, Indie-Pub, or Big 5? Part 4

We’ve been talking about the paths to publishing for the last few weeks. Every author is unique. One author’s publishing journey is right for them but might be wrong for you, and so I’ve laid out some general information so you can make a wise business decision about the publication of your books. Remember, you are the brand and the books are the product.

Last time, we left off with the Big 5 and the marketing quandary of why do you still have to market your book if you publish with the Big 5. Don’t they do that?


Sometimes not.

Here’s the deal. The Big 5 publish 800,000 books per year and they don’t have enough staff or time or financial desire to market every single book they publish.

But how do they decide which books they will market?

I hear you asking. I do.

It goes kind of like this. They have an A stack, a B stack, and a C stack of books they are publishing. Books in the A stack will get some kind of standard marketing package that includes a baseline list of things they will do. Books in the B stack will get some kind of simplified baseline marketing package. Books in the C stack get nothing. Zip. Nada. Well, maybe they will be listed in the seasonal catalog, but they don’t get much more than that.

But you, the author, do not get to decide which marketing package you will get. And you may not be able to find out which pile your book is in. So it’s possible that your book is published by the Big 5 (Congratulations!) but you don’t see it anywhere, and it doesn’t sell much because you haven’t marketed it at all.

Sorry about that.

So even if you publish with the Big 5 it is in your best interest, and the best interest of your book, to create a marketing plan, have a marketing budget, and market.

One thing you should know…

Everybody markets is a good mantra but marketing does not guarantee book sales. It is totally possible that you are a well-planned, luxuriously budgeted marketing machine. And in spite of that, your book doesn’t sell. Or at least it isn’t as successful as you wanted it to be.


Maybe your sales are down because you write in a niche market and your reading audience is limited.

Maybe you’ve written an Octogenarian Mystery where your protagonist is 80 and your reading audience is limited.

Maybe you’ve written the same kind of book that everyone else is writing. Your fabulous weir rabbit with the gravy fetish coming out next month is sure to be a hit! Except there are 25 other books coming out next month with that same idea. Oh no!

The market is flooded.

The reality is that supply always, always, always outweighs demand in publishing. Remember the publishing math we did last time?

So what do you do?

Keep marketing anyway.

Keep building your brand.

Be persistent.

Don’t give up.


Next time: Self-Pub, Indie-Pub, or Big 5? Part 5


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